Nothing helps to skyrocket your brand and products to success like the exposure from being featured in national publications. As a product-based business owner, it can seem overwhelming to get a product featured in major publications, especially if you’re new to pitching.
But press is vital to your brand’s exposure. Even if you have a groundbreaking product, no one can buy it if they don’t know about it. Take a look at these 8 simple strategies for brand and product exposure to see how you can get a feature in major publications.
1. Highlight Controversy
If you have a controversial product, you may face more challenges in getting your name out there and getting featured articles in major publications. Naturally, adult products or newly legalized products aren’t a great fit for every publication, but you can find plenty that want what you have to offer.
Your product solves a problem for a consumer, so you have an audience. It’s just on you to start the conversation and get the word out. While not everyone will like what you have to offer, and some will even fight against you and get your content banned, others will love you.
Controversial products create strong reactions in people, leading to discussions and opinions that attract a lot of attention. Many publications rely on edginess and attention like this to trend themselves, so featuring your product can add to the hype.
2. Create Striking Visuals
Visuals can be used to quickly and effectively communicate the benefits of a product, influencing the decision-making process for consumers. Create striking visuals that clearly communicate your brand message and product benefits to get a strong reaction in the audience, which will stand out to the publications you pitch.
It’s best to hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of your product, yourself, and your workplace or studio. Professional photographers may also have suggestions for how to creatively position your product or enhance your visual message. Try to keep the photos in line with the quality and style of the publication.
If you’re able, get a versatile mix of photos that include lifestyle shots, graphic shots, art shots, and promotional shots. When you have a diverse range of photos to choose from, the publication has options for what fits best with its current style. High-quality, professional photos can mean the difference between winning the pitch or getting a rejection.
3. Position Your Product as First-to-Market
This only applies if it’s accurate, but first-to-market offers a huge advantage over competitors. Known as the “first-mover advantage,” being first-to-market helps your brand and product gain strong brand recognition and customer loyalty before your competitors can move in with their own offerings. You’re in charge of the conversation and can set the market price, most of the time.
Publications want to be first and “in the know” as well, so many major journalists and publications will jump at the chance to feature your first-to-market product. Make sure you leverage this unique benefit in your pitch, so the editor or journalist sees that they have a unique opportunity to “introduce” something new and exciting to their audience before anyone else.
4. Tell a Unique Brand Story
Consumers want to connect with the human story behind the brand, rather than a nameless, faceless company. Whether you’re a first-time business owner, a female founder with a unique backstory, or an industry professional who went off on your own to realize your vision, now is the time to tell the world.
Stories capture your audience’s attention and get them invested in working with you. Not just any story will do, however. You must tell a story that’s emotional, human, and well crafted.
Be sure to include your unique brand story in your pitch. The publication wants to tell human-interest stories as well, so connect your story to your product and let them know why your story should be told.
5. Use Silly National Holidays
The big marketing holidays may be Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve, but they’re not the only holidays you can integrate into your marketing campaigns. Nearly every day has a strange and silly national holiday, such as National Garlic Day, National Pink Day, and National Bathtub Racing Day. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find a holiday that connects with your product in a creative way.
As an example, if you offer feminine hygiene products, your marketing campaign could center around Lingerie Day (Apr. 24) or No Panty Day (Jun. 22). You can find holidays to suit just about any product or brand (bathtub racing!), so find holidays that you can use for your campaign.
Best of all, these holidays often trend on social media, even more than Christmas or New Year’s. When you create content around them, you can generate a lot of attention for your product and publication. Be sure to mention this in your pitch and highlight how your feature can help the publication piggyback on trending holidays as well.
6. Tailor Your Pitch
Depending on the nature of your product or brand, you may have unique propositions for different publications. If you send a blanket pitch that doesn’t communicate your unique value, you could end up with no responses. Tailoring your pitch to the publication – and what you have to offer – takes time, but it’s worth it to get the attention of the contact. Publications have different audiences, so you need to show them you understand what they’re about.
While the general structure of the pitch can be a template, leave space to personalize your message and show what you can bring to the publication. This may be a humorous slant, a feel-good story, or an edgy topic that connects with your product.
Be sure to check the pitch process and guidelines for the publication. This can vary widely between publications, so check the website to make sure you’re following its rules. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
7. Stay Organized
Journalism moves fast, so most publications have tight deadlines and turnaround times. If you get an inquiry or pitch response, make sure to get back to them quickly and include all the information they need. They’re busy, just like you, so offer a link to a press kit that includes your samples, feature content, product information, press-ready images, and any other supporting information.
For your own organization, keep a document that includes your pitch template and a response template with a short snippet about your product. You can copy-and-paste this information for rapid responses to inquiries and requests.
Another thing to keep in mind – most publications plan content months in advance, so choose the right time to pitch. If you have a seasonal product, the right time to pitch isn’t in the middle of the target season. Plan to pitch winter products in the spring or summer, and vice versa, to give everyone time to include the feature in the content planning.
8. Keep at It
Pitching may mean a lot of rejection. Don’t get discouraged! Editors and journalists are busy, so you may not get a response every time. Just keep pitching and work on building relationships on social media. Connect with the publications and journalists you’re targeting, and share and engage with their content.
Take the time to refine your pitch, organize your press kit, and write more samples. If you have a great feature that didn’t get any bites, pitch a different article to the same publications in the future. You may use it eventually, but even if you don’t, you have a great sample for your press kit.
About the Author
Frances is the founder/Captain Awkward/CEO of Awkward Essentials, a company that makes products that address the unspoken parts of hygiene. She is also the inventor of the dripstick — an after sex cleanup sponge. Frances Tang never intended to build a company around a post-sex cleanup tool, but the Awkward Essentials founder saw a need — and an opportunity — for an entrepreneur willing to go there. Now, Frances is leading a revolution for female founders, showing that fearlessness is a founder’s most important value.